Hudson leaders want to improve pedestrian safety at intersections

Administration will start discussion with council on Jan. 12

Phil Keren
Akron Beacon Journal
Cross walk signs line Main Street throughout downtown Hudson on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 in Hudson. Hudson City Council is examining pedestrian safety at intersections throughout the city. [Mike Cardew/Beacon Journal]

HUDSON — City leaders are looking at ways to improve the safety of intersections for pedestrians.

The issue of pedestrian safety recently came to the forefront after Vincent Baran, 7, died after he was struck by a car while riding his bicycle in downtown Hudson on Nov. 7. Vincent was traveling on his bike on a sidewalk along Route 303 when he was hit by a vehicle that was attempting turn on to Route 303 from a parking lot by the Noble House, according to Roberts. That location is close to the intersection of Route 303 and Library Street.

At their last meeting of 2020 before taking a two-week holiday break, some city council members said they wanted to see the safety issues addressed soon. 

Council member Chris Foster (Ward 2) was one of the members who asked city staff to study the issue.

"A number of residents have brought up safety needs around certain intersections in Hudson recently," said Foster at council's meeting Dec. 15. "I would like staff to really dig into that."

Cars travel along State Route 303 cross North Hayden Parkway on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 in Hudson. [Mike Cardew/Beacon Journal]

Some of the intersections that Foster said he would like to see examined are: Hudson and Aurora streets; Aurora and Oviatt streets; Library Street and state Route 303; the intersection near Route 303 and N. Hayden Parkway; Route 91 and Stoney Hill Drive; and the Prospect Street crossing.

"If city staff could take a look at safety concerns around those intersections, it would go a long way toward taking care of the safety needs of residents in this town and the downtown area," said Foster. "We've grown quite a bit over the past years and we need to be concerned about residents who are moving around a downtown that's built around pedestrian activity."

Cars pass thorough the intersection of State Route 91 and Stoney Hill Drive on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 in Hudson. [Mike Cardew/Beacon Journal]

Council President Bill Wooldredge (at-large) said he was concerned about situations where pedestrians are crossing a street at the same time "that cars are being allowed to turn through the intersection."

"I just don't think that's a good idea," Wooldredge continued. "I didn't like it at the time we did it and I still don't like it. I think we should have [a] separate time when people cross the street and when cars are turning. I know it slows down the traffic flow a little bit, but I think safety has to be our primary concern."

A pedestrian crosses State Route 303 (Streetsboro St.) at State Route 91 (Main Street) on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 in Hudson. Hudson City Council is examining pedestrian safety at intersections throughout the city. [Mike Cardew/Beacon Journal]

City administrators said the engineering, public works and police departments have been studying the pedestrian safety issues at intersections and will be discussed at a traffic safety committee meeting on Jan. 7.

City Manager Jane Howington said the administration on Jan. 12 will begin what she expects will be an "ongoing conversation" with council about pedestrian safety at intersections. The presentation will center on how the safety of an intersection is evaluated and review ways that the areas can be made safer.

a group crosses Library Street as the walk along State Route 303 on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 in Hudson. Hudson City Council is examining pedestrian safety at intersections throughout the city. [Mike Cardew/Beacon Journal]

City spokesperson Jody Roberts added municipal leaders are eyeing the improvement of safety at intersections throughout Hudson.

"It is the beginning of campaign to improve pedestrian safety," said Roberts.

Foster added that crosswalks on Main Street (Route 91) have yellow lights that "visibly notify drivers of a pedestrian."

"If there is some other way of making the crosswalks more visible / safer, I'm open to it," added Foster.

A decorated rock rests against a light pole near the site where Vincent Baran, 7 was struck and killed by a car while riding his bicycle in Nov. 2020.  Photo taken  on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 in Hudson. [Mike Cardew/Beacon Journal]

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at pkeren@thebeaconjournal.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.